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[Public Domain]



Samuel JohnsonRasselas, Prince of Abyssinia (September 25, 2009)

something has gone horribly wrong 8-p
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LibriVox recording of Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia, by Samuel Johnson. Read by Martin Geeson.

In this enchanting fable (subtitled The Choice of Life), Rasselas and his retinue burrow their way out of the totalitarian paradise of the Happy Valley in search of that triad of eighteenth-century aspiration - life, liberty and happiness. According to that quirky authority, James Boswell, Johnson penned his only work of prose fiction in a handful of days to cover the cost of his mother's funeral. The stylistic elegance of the book and its wide-ranging philosophical concerns give no hint of haste or superficiality.

Among other still burning issues Johnson's characters pursue questions of education, colonialism, the nature of the soul and even climate alteration. Johnson's profoundest concern, however, is with the alternating attractions of solitude and social participation, seen not only as the ultimate life-choice but as the arena in which are played out the deepest fears of the individual: "Of the uncertainties of our present state, the most dreadful and alarming is the uncertain continuance of Reason.”

(Summary by Martin Geeson)

For further information, including links to online text, reader information, RSS feeds, CD cover or other formats (if available), please go to the LibriVox catalog page for this recording.

M4B format available

For more free audio books or to become a volunteer reader, visit LibriVox.org.

This audio is part of the collection: The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection
It also belongs to collections: Audio Books & Poetry; Community Audio

Artist/Composer: Samuel Johnson
Date: 2009-09-25
Source: Librivox recording of a public-domain text
Keywords: librivox; literature; audiobook; adventure; fiction; choice of life.

Creative Commons license: Public Domain

Individual Files

Whole Item FormatSize
rasselas_prince_abyssinia_0909_librivox_128kb.m3u 128kbps M3U Stream
rasselas_prince_abyssinia_0909_librivox_64kb_mp3.zip 64Kbps MP3 ZIP 151.4 MB
Audio Files 128Kbps MP3 Ogg Vorbis 64Kbps MP3
01 - Chapters I-IV 27.4 MB
18.1 MB
13.7 MB
02 - Chapters V-VII 16.3 MB
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03 - Chapters VIII, IX 15.4 MB
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04 - Chapters X-XII 27.1 MB
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05 - Chapters XIII-XVI 21.0 MB
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06 - Chapters XVII-XX 17.0 MB
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07 - Chapters XXI, XXII 13.4 MB
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08 - Chapters XXIII-XXVI 17.6 MB
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09 - Chapters XXVII, XXVIII 12.4 MB
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10 - Chapters XXIX, XXX 15.9 MB
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11 - Chapters XXXI-XXXIII 11.2 MB
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12 - Chapters XXXIV-XXXVII 21.8 MB
14.6 MB
10.9 MB
13 - Chapters XXXVIII, XXXIX 22.5 MB
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14 - Chapters XL-XLIII 15.4 MB
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15 - Chapters XLIV, XLV 14.0 MB
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16 - Chapters XLVI, XLVII 21.9 MB
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17 - Chapters XLVIII, XLIX 12.5 MB
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Image Files JPEG
Rasselas_1004.jpg 119.6 KB
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rasselas_prince_abyssinia_0909_librivox_archive.torrent 36.7 KB
rasselas_prince_abyssinia_0909_librivox_files.xml 11.3 KB

Write a review
Downloaded 11,905 times
Average Rating: 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: GonzoRanch - - August 7, 2013
Subject: "affecting grief"??
Those reviews really got me curious!
mikezane mentioned, "deep philosophical issues such as what is happiness, and how does logic affect grief" -- those are questions I need answered - I recently lost my wife, the "closest of soul-mate wifes" & our 3 young & very loving children, all at the same time, no warning at all. So now trying to "affect grief" - destroy it's what I need, now force myself to stay alive is an hourly fight. A fight I really, really, just don't want to win, I curse myself & do anyway.
Listening to these audiobooks has distracted my mind away from the very real very extreme pinnacle of the very razor sharpest torturous killing grief -- so many many days, these audiobooks


have literally, very literally saved my life for a few more minutes at a time, often for 20 - 30 times a day, until what seems like 80 hours later, I finally make it to the end of another day.
ohh... I'm sorry... I need to just shut up.
But the *help* so many of you have given, without your knowing anything about it at all, is so, sooo massive...

Reviewer: dahszil - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - July 18, 2013
Subject: Martin Geeson has a fine voice
I listened to Mr. Geeson's solo of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" and I loved the strange but compassionate story(although I assume the last 9 parts or chapters have not been finished yet). Dostoevsky has more insight into neurosis than Freud. And like Turgenev he, Dostoevsky is basically that proverbial good hearted, sympathetic Russian. Martin I cannot believe someone was annoyed by your voice. On the contrary, I like your voice very much and you are a fine reader. And I like Elizebeth Klett too. One of the Dostoevsky books(which will be left un named) produced by Librivox volunteers was read by an American like me. His voice was very flat with a drawal. I love your "Ups" and "Downs" in vocalizations very much Mr. Geeson. And I like your pace. Many of my fellow Americans read so fast. Perhaps it is because I am ill, but i don't think so.


Reviewer: mikezane - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - September 1, 2011
Subject: That would be a shame... (Updated)
I found M Geeson's voice excellent, as I indicated in my review of Zastrozzi. I actually hated the book, but the reader did a wonderful job. I am partial to mysteries and sci-fi so if you would read some of those... :-)

I think I'll download this book even tho it's not my genre, and give it a listen. Will post updated review when I am done.

Update -
Yep, this book is definitely not my genre. It was an okay book as far as the story line goes, but it did not draw me in because the story wasn't light enough. It addresses some deep philosophical issues such as what is happiness, and how does logic affect grief.

The reader was fine, and the quality of the recordings was excellent, so if you like philosophy wrapped in a bit of a story, you may like this one.

Story = 3
Reader = 5
Overall Rating = 4

Reviewer: M Geeson - - August 27, 2011
Subject: Sincerely, folks: "It's difficult to criticize the work of a volunteer, but..."
Many thanks, Parsnip, for your courteous comments.

If you link to cmih's earlier reviews you'll find him/her an interestingly constituted character. First there's the fulsome praise for the "generosity" of the volunteers; then comes the mean-spirited denunciation of a named individual, with the evident intention to stamp out further participation by that person.

I almost prefer straightforwardly destructive reviewers to someone who pretends to be struggling against their natural sense of fairness and decency. I feel tempted, on the same basis, to apologise to cmih for the nausea induced by my voice!

After a very productive first year reading for Librivox, I have found my confidence failing as I try more difficult and challenging material. I record far less and have long fallow periods. When I find glib or sneering people going out of their way to advertise to others how unpleasing, affected or unsuitable they find my voice, I feel like giving up altogether.

Reviewer: Parsnip - 4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars4.00 out of 5 stars - August 26, 2011
Subject: A matter of taste
We each have our personal taste, but if you look at the many reviews of Martin Geeson's recordings, you will see that many, many people have the very highest regard for his work. I can only assume that the reviewer is American, if he cannot differentiate between a well-spoken Englishman and a "grossly exaggerated British accent".

Reviewer: cmih - 3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars3.00 out of 5 stars - August 26, 2011
Subject: Story seems interesting, but...
It's difficult to criticize the work of a volunteer, but...

It seemed like an interesting story, but after listening to a few of the recordings I had to stop. The reader's style of reading made me feel like I was on a audio roller-coaster. His tone goes UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN. I can't place his accent, but it sounds to me like the most grossly exaggerated British accent ever performed, although, interestingly, it appears it is his real accent. I couldn't help but wonder what the story would have been like read in a normal voice. If you can get past the reader's style and accent, you might find the story interesting.